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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Real-time fluorimetric analysis of gramicidin D- and alamethicin-induced K+ efflux from Sf9 and Cf1 insect cells.

Gramicidin D and alamethicin are pore-forming peptides which exhibit lethal properties against a large spectrum of cells. Despite a wealth of experimental data from artificial membranes, the time course and quantitative analysis of the activity of these ionophores are not well described in living cells. In the present study, the newly described fluorescent dye CD-222 was used to monitor extracellular potassium ion concentration and report the effects of these antibiotics on the K+ permeability of the plasma membrane of Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) and Choristoneura fumiferana (Cf1) insect cells. Both peptides induced a rapid efflux of intracellular K+ as a consequence of ion channel formation in the cell membrane. K+ efflux began without any measurable delay. While the final extracellular K+ concentration was unaffected by ionophore concentration, the rate of K+ efflux was dose dependent. Using a model describing the partition of the peptides in lipid membranes, the K+ efflux kinetic parameters were determined for both cell types and both pore formers. The proposed stoichiometry for the channel formed by gramicidin in living cells is in good agreement with the two-monomers model based on data from artificial membrane systems. The K+-permeable channel formed by alamethicin in insect cells appears to involve three monomers.[1]


  1. Real-time fluorimetric analysis of gramicidin D- and alamethicin-induced K+ efflux from Sf9 and Cf1 insect cells. Guihard, G., Falk, S., Vachon, V., Laprade, R., Schwartz, J.L. Biochemistry (1999) [Pubmed]
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